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Saint Joseph Health System

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Saint Joseph Health System Hospitals Introduce Kentucky's First "No Wait" Emergency Rooms

Lexington, KY, June 04, 2010 --( Long waits are often synonymous with emergency room visits, creating anxiety and frustration for patients and their loved ones. That’s why Saint Joseph Health System has introduced groundbreaking No Wait ERs, now at Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East and Saint Joseph - Jessamine. The remaining five Saint Joseph Health System hospitals (in London, Bardstown, Martin, Berea and Mount Sterling) will implement the new program (the first of its kind in Kentucky) later this year.

With the new process, emergency care begins within five minutes of a patient’s arrival time. A doctor examines the patient within 30 minutes. This time frame will allow the hospitals to provide a better experience for patients, while continuing to deliver the same high-quality care that patients expect from Saint Joseph Health System.

“Traditionally, once you entered an ER, you were met by a receptionist who began the registration process,” said Chris Bowe, administrator of Saint Joseph - Jessamine. “Then you were seen by a nurse who assessed the severity of your condition. If your illness or injury was not serious, you were sent back to the lobby to wait for a room assignment.”

At Saint Joseph Health System’s No Wait ER, a patient is seen by a nurse within five minutes of arrival, said Bowe, who is leading the implementation of the new program within the health system.

“You are quickly seen by an ER nurse who will begin the treatment you need,” Bowe said. “For example, if you bring in a child who has injured his arm, the nurse can order x-rays. If you have certain symptoms of a particular illness, the nurse can order lab tests. All of this happens even before the doctor sees you within 30 minutes.”

Then, the patient is escorted to the appropriate treatment area. Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East are designed with interior ER waiting rooms to allow the staff to move patients from the lobby to a place where care can begin, according to Marilyn Swinford, R.N., director of emergency services.

“Patients are sicker than before; many patients do not have access to primary care, and ERs across the nation are overcrowded with primary care patients,” Swinford said. “With No Wait ERs, we want to serve all of our patients more efficiently. If for some reason we are not able to meet the five and 30 minute goals, we will explain the situation to the patient so that they understand the details and progress of their care.”

“This process began around the patient’s experience,” Bowe said. “We asked ourselves, ‘What is the right thing to do for our patients?’ The answer for our patients was quite simple. It is better care, better for our providers and better for the patient to be within the care system rather than waiting for care.

“With our mission as our example, we want to treat each patient as we would our own family member.”

Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph East and Saint Joseph- Jessamine are members of Saint Joseph Health System, a 981-bed, eight-facility health care system that spans central and eastern Kentucky. Saint Joseph Health System is a member of Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest Catholic health care system. Visit for further information.

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Saint Joseph Health System
Kevin Smith

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